Leica M (RED) Auctioned at $1.5 M


Leica at Sothebys: Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Alfred Schopf, Stefan Daniel, Steffen Keil


The winning bid was $1,500,000 for the Jony Ive and Marc Newson designed one-of-a-kind Leica M Digital Rangefinder Camera with Leica APO-Summicron–M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens at the (RED) Auction at Sotheby’s New York.

Some updates to previous post, learned at a preview this afternoon: The body was manufactured by Apple in Cupertino. The team from Leica provided specs and internal configurations–to make sure that the Leica M guts would fit perfectly. Special milling and laser engraving machines were built or purchased by Jony Ive’s Apple team to complete the complex and elegant design. Following that, the body went to Leica headquarters in Solms for the electronics, sensor and optics to be fitted and finished.

Like they say in the credit card commercial, priceless.






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Keslow gets Vantage Ones



Keslow Camera has received the first 3 focal lengths of the new Vantage One T1.0 Spherical Prime Lens set: 25, 40, and 65 mm. I believe this is the first in the USA. The full Vantage One set will consist of 17.5, 21, 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 90, and 120 mm — all T1.0.

Above T2, Vantage One lenses have a look similar to many modern lenses. From T1.4 to T1.0, the Vantage Ones provide a kind of “variable diffusion and variable contrast,” with a smooth, subtle creaminess to skin tones. The look is comparable to the classic Leica Noctilux of the 1970s.

The distance from the rear element to the sensor is long, so light rays travel relatively parallel, even illumination to the corners of the frame and reducing color fringing.

Dennis McDonald, Keslow Camera’s Chief Operating Officer said, “The Vantage One primes represent a new benchmark in terms of speed – something not seen in the industry today. But its not just speed that cinematographers are craving. With the prevalence of light-sensitive digital sensors, the Vantage One primes offer a unique look when opened up to T1, allowing a new creative feel with an intensely shallow depth of field not achievable with other lenses.”

When first announced in the hallowed pages of FDTimes a few months ago, a collective flurry of emails came from focus pullers worldwide. “How are we going to keep these babies in focus?” And, “Where will I be working next week?”

True, wide open at T1, the depth of field is as thin as a director’s patience. The trick is to prevail upon said director to work with these lenses, not against them. Avoid planning that continuous remote-head take at T1 from ECU of actress’ eye to the widest WS vista the world has ever seen. Still lifes with Vantage Ones are beautiful. Wide open at T1.0, these lenses offer a whole new look for locked off product shots, Sergio Leone twitch of the eye style close-ups, and title-sequence-worthy stylized scenes. At T2.0, focus pullers can breathe easier, confident in the knowledge that they behave normally. Vantage Ones have a beautiful cosmetic quality that will be welcome on fashion and beauty commercials and dramas.




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Leica X2 Gagosian Edition



Camera Style.

Leica Camera and Gagosian Gallery introduce the new limited edition Leica X2 Gagosian Edition. The all-metal body sports expressionist black paint splotches on the camera’s white leather trim.

Larry Gagosian (classmate of Howard Preston at UCLA) established his gallery in 1980 in Los Angeles. Since then, Gagosian Galleries have presented works of the world’s leading contemporary artists in their 12 galleries worldwide.

Larry Gagosian said, “Considering the many important photographers who have used Leica cameras over the years, we are thrilled to not only offer Leica products at Gagosian Shop but to have the opportunity to create our own unique Leica Camera.”

Handmade at Leica’s headquarters in Solms, Germany, the compact X2 camera has an APS-C-format CMOS 16.5 megapixel sensor, and a fixed Elmarit 24 mm f/2.8 ASPH lens. Manual and automatic controls let you capture your decisive moment quickly.

In addition to the Special Edition X2, the Gagosian Shop at 976 Madison Avenue (at 77 Street) in New York will display Leica X Vario, X2, X2 A La Carte, V-LUX 4, D-LUX 6 and Leica C cameras and accessories.

The Leica X2 Gagosian Edition camera, produced in a limited run of one hundred units, is available for purchase exclusively at the Gagosian Shop and on the Shop’s website.



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Cooke Metrology Lens Projector


Cooke’s new Lens Projector is now shipping.

No rental house or lens owner should be without one.

A lens test projector is essentially a slide projector. The light source is a bright, parallel beam. Instead of a slide, it carries a test chart (reticle) with format lines and resolution grids. The image is projected through the back of the lens onto a flat white wall. It’s important to use studio white paint, and the wall must be flat.

The lens test projector lets you see how the lens handles geometric distortion of straight lines (or do they bend?), whether there is chromatic aberration (white target shifts from magenta to green as you focus), internal barrel flare (hazy gray black background), sharpness, where the edges fall off (shading), and whether the lens breathes.

It’s a good idea to mount the lens projector on a cabinet with solid wheels that lock and install a track on the floor to double check engraved lens focus marks. However, the projector is also easily transportable and convenient to take on location in a small case.

The Cooke Lens Projector’s light output is the brightest one that we know of, which is helpful when evaluating T1.3 – T1.4 lenses.

In fact, the projector is so bright it can be demonstrated in daylight. Of course, there’s a dimmer knob to adjust light intensity on the electronic ballast without changing color temperature. Color stability and uniform illumination across the entire field was an important design parameter in the design.

In addition to PL-mount lenses, the projector’s interchangeable lens mount system accommodates a variety of other mounts, including Panavision, Canon, Nikon, BNC-R and more. The base accepts 19 and 15 mm support rods.

Lens control systems, lens lights and accessories can be plugged into the 4-pin and USB connectors that come standard on all projectors.  You can plug in Transvideo’s CineMonitorHD to display Cooke /i lens metadata.

Accessories include: remote focus control, wired back focus adjustment, monitors, lens supports, and custom test charts. The Cooke Lens Projector is manufactured in Munich by Pure4C to Cooke Optics specifications.

The Cooke Metrology Lens Test Projector is available from ZGC in North and South America, and from Cooke Optics in the rest of the world.

The US list price of $14,600 includes Cooke Lens Test Projector (110V/220V), PL-Mount, Lens Test Chart (Reticule), and Analog Measuring Gauge.


  • 200W Ceramic Tungsten Lamp (rated at 200 hours lamp life)
  • Dimmable Electronic Ballast
  • Adjustable Back Focus
  • Dial gauge for analog Back Focus Read-out
  • Connector for USB work light
  • Lemo 2-pin Connector for 12V-output
  • Interchangeable Mount System with PL Mount
  • Optional Canon EF-Mount, Nikon Mount, and more
  • Support for 19mm and 15mm Rods
  • Tool for Correct Line-up When Testing Anamorphic Lenses
  • Flange Depth Control without Touching the Sensitive Reticle
  • Upgrade 1: Wire Remote Control for Back Focus Adjustment
  • Upgrade 2: Box with Large LEDS for Flange Depth Read-out
  • Useable for all High-Speed Lenses



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Leica M by Ive & Newson


Here’s the opportuity to get a Jony Ive and Marc Newson designed one-of-a-kind Leica M Digital Rangefinder Camera with Leica APO-Summicron–M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens.

It’s part of the (RED) Auction at Sotheby’s New York this Saturday, November 23. Public viewing is open all week, 10a – 5p and on Saturday 10a – 1p. Sotheby’s is at 1334 York Avenue (at 72th Street) in New York — a mere 11 blocks from Film and Digital Times’ global headquarters.


Sir Jonathan Ive, KBE, Senior Vice President of Design at Apple, and Marc Newson, CBE collaborated with musician and philanthropist Bono to organize the (RED) Auction — a worthy charity and celebration of design and innovation. They have planned the collection for over a year and a half; it includes objects designed for space travel, lighting, contemporary art, rare automobiles, and the Leica camera. The theme is excellence and innovation.  Proceeds from the auction at Sotheby’s New York will benefit The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Leica M and lens are one of two items designed entirely by Ive and Newson.



561 models and nearly 1000 prototype parts were made during the 85 days it took to create this  unique Leica M for (RED). The camera body is milled from a solid block of aluminum. The distinctive pattern has been created by laser etching more than 21,000 hemispheres onto the anodized surface.



All 5 sides of the camera body (except the bottom) have been sculpted from one solid piece aluminum. Furthermore, the signature Leica leather trim, which normally hides screws and seams, has been eschewed in favor of clean-line design esthetics. I can only imagine the reaction in Solms when the Leica assembly team learned that the only way to install the camera’s internal parts would be through the bottom or lens cavity. Parts had to be re-engineered to fit the new housing.



The guts (full-format CMOS sensor, high performance processor) are original Leica M Type 240 (24 Megapixel) parts. The accompanying Leica APO-Summicron–M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens retains the same optical elements, with a newly machined barrels and exterior.

Jony Ive said, “Leica represents the confluence of precision engineering, world-class lens technology and design principles which elevate both function and form. Designing this very special camera for the (RED) Auction has been a privilege for myself and Marc, and its sale on November 23rd will generate funds so critical to the fight to end AIDS.”

Marc Newson said, “The winning bidder will own a piece of exquisite imaging history. The attention to each and every detail of this camera – from its outer shell to the magnificent optics – will delight a collector who appreciates the absolute pinnacle of craftsmanship.”

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of Leica, said, “We loved the collaboration with Jony and Marc. Their design sets a new and unprecedented standard in modern photography. As the only one ever to be produced, and boasting an unrivaled aesthetic, this Leica camera will truly create its own historic category when it goes under the hammer this winter.” We trust the metaphor will be appreciated and the priceless camera will not be directly under the striking zone of said hammer.

Bono said, “When you think of Jony and Marc, you think of design which is both iconic and sublime. Those two words can be applied to the unique collection of objects on the auction block this November. Each bang of that hammer will be raising critical dollars to fight AIDS… by getting medication to mothers with HIV which means they will not pass the virus on to their newborns.”


In case you are outbidded on the Leica M, other leading-edge designs await: a new red Mac Pro, Lambretta scooter from the film “Quadrophenia,”  George Lucas signed Stormtrooper helmet from “Star Wars,” Louboutin boots, Flying Merkel motorcycle, and Jolly car :




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Panasonic 4K Camera & Tablet

4K Camera

DSC00396-FDTimesPanasonic’s prototype 4K Varicam 35mm sensor camera, seen at IBC, was shown again under glass at InterBEE. The plethora of rods surrounding the body seem to be intended as grab handles and mounting points for gobo heads, Mafer clamps and car rigs.



4K Toughpad

Nearby, Panasonic’s new Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 tablet was on display. The 20-inch 4K Toughpad tablet is intended not just for video, but also for an even larger market in design, photography, architecture, engineering, museums, galleries, retail stores, and healthcare (reading X-Rays). It was especially good at displaying fine text, diagrams and detail.


The Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 has a 3840×2560 pixel display, 230 pixels per inch, 15:10 aspect ratio. (By way of comparison, a 9.7 inch Retina iPad is 2048 x 1535 at 264 pixels per inch. So, the benefit of 4K is a bigger picture, up close.

In addition to its touchscreen , the Toughpad 4K can be used with an optional pressure-sensitive Electronic Touch Pen for freehand sketching or writing. The pen works with infrared and Bluetooth to individual pixel accuracy.

Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 Specs

  • Szie: 20-inch IPS Alpha LCD screen, 3840×2560 pixel diisplay, 230 pixels per inch and 15:10 aspect ratio
  • Processing : Intel Core i5-3437U vPro processor with NVIDIA GeForce 745M GPU
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Storage & Memory: 256 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM and 2GB VRAM
  • I/O: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0 (Class 1), USB 3.0, SDXC card slot, smart card reader, docking connector
  • Camera: 1280 x 720 pixel built-in front camera
  • Drop: Said to withstand 30-inch drop onto its back while running
  • Battery: approx 2 hours
  • Weight: 5.27 lb.
  • Thickness: 0.49 inch

The optional Panasonic desktop cradle lets you use it as desktop PC and tablet. The cradle has USB 3.0 x3, Ethernet and HDMI-output.

The Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 adds to Panasonic’s expanding line of 4K products, including the 65-inch VIERA® WT600 Ultra-High Definition 4K TV and the BT-4LH310 LCD production monitor.

Price and Shipping

The Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 will be available in January 2014 at a list price of $5,999.

For more info: http://us.panasonic.com/4k






InterBEE Tokyo 2013

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Inter BEE 2013 began on November 13 at the Makuhari Messe. It’s interesting how certain German phrases persist: Messe, Lens Meister…. 918 companies and organizations exhibited in 1,491 booths, representing 536 exhibitors from 30 countries and regions around the world. 31,979  visitors attended the three day show. Inter BEE 2014 is scheduled Wednesday, November 19 to Friday, November 21, 2014, in the same venue: Makuhari Messe, near Tokyo Narita airport.

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Canon C100 Dual Pixel Autofocus


Beginning February 2014, Canon EOS C100 cameras will autofocus continuously and twice as fast with Canon’s entire line of EF lenses. The optional upgrade will cost  $500.00 (plus shipping and handling) when you send your C100 camera body to a Canon service center.

Who knew (besides Canon’s technical team) that the C100, C300 and C500 had dual pixel CMOS sensors? I certainly didn’t, although a clue might have been the high ISO potential of these cameras. In fact, at InterBEE they were showing a camera cranked up to 80,000 ISO inside a black box with flaps–like a miniature video village tent. In almost total darkness it still could display a map of the world.


The Autofocus upgrade is only for the EOS C100 camera (introduced in November 2012). On paper, theoretically the C300 and C500 could be upgraded as well if enough owners were interested, but I guess Canon figures that if you have a C300 or C500, you have a camera assistant/focus puller.

The C100 upgrade works well with Canon’s new STM (Stepping Motor) lenses because they are quieter. The improved autofocus uses Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology first introduced on Canon’s EOS 70D digital SLR camera in August. On the C100, the autofocus area is a rectangular in the center of the frame representing about 1/5th the picture height and 1/4 the width. I believe you will be able to move this rectangular frame with the “joystick” camera control. Focus shifts are smooth. You will also be able to dedicate a user-assignable button to interrupt autofocus and take over manually. However, “touch-the screen-to-focus” is not enabled the way it is on the 70D’s rear touch-screen in Live View mode. Read Brent Ramsey’s article for more details about the upgrade.

Canon has additional information about the update.




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Astro Viewfinder

DSC00384-FDTimes-astroThe latest update of Astro’s DF-3512 was shown at Tokyo InterBEE. The Astro DF-3512 is a full HD LCOS EVF (1920 x 1080 Electronic Viewfinder). It fits nicely on a Canon C500, C300, or any other camera in search of a good viewfinder that can be positioned anywhere. After a few false starts, the Astro now lets you focus clearly, the image is true, the controls are helpful.

  • 1920 x 1080
  • 2 image magnification settings to check focus
  • dials for brightness, contrast, peaking
  • 5 user profiles can be stored






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Panavision Primo V Primes

Panavision now has a new line of primes, the Primo V series. They have been designed for 35mm digital cameras, and because of protruding rear elements, cannot be used on mirror shutter film cameras. The set of Primo V primes consist of 14.5, 17.5, 21, 27, 35, 40, 50, 75, and 100 mm T1/9.

The Primo V lenses use lens elements from existing Primos. Mechanics have been upgrades, and the optical design has been optimized for digital cameras. Image circle has been increased to 31.4 mm (maybe larger). Dan Sasaki explained that the optical consideration take into account the optical low pass filter (cover glass) of digital cameras.

Modifications correct for coma, astigmatism, and other aberrations introduced by the additional glass between the lens and the sensor, while preserving the imaging characteristics cinematographers know and love about Primo. The new lenses provide an image more balanced center-to-edge.

The Primo V lenses are compatible with any digital camera equipped with PL or Panavision 35 mount systems. They cannot be used on film cameras. The internal transports and mechanics of the Primo V lenses will retain the familiar Primo feel. Since the Primo V lenses retain the essential Primo character, imagery from Primo V and standard Primo lenses will intercut well.

More details to follow when I get a better internet connection here in Tokyo at InterBEE.


Canon 4K Reference Monitor


Canon demonstrated the new DP-V3010 4K Reference Monitor in their 4K theater at Tokyo Headquarters today.  It’s a 30-inch 4K IPS LCD flat panel display with the jaw-dropping ability to exactly match its mates on set, in grading suites around the world, as well as simultaneously running projectors and monitors.

Anyone grumbling about the $40,000 list price will quickly be mollified by the stunning fact that here’s a monitor that might replace an entire DI grading theatre/screening room. You will now be able to grade at a desktop — because its 4K picture is as good as, and matches exactly, any 4K grading digital projection system. Just imagine the savings in high-cost real estate rental.

The DP-V3010 Reference Display was first shown as a prototype at Canon Expo in New York a couple of years ago. It will ship in the first quarter of 2014. It has a 30 inch diagonal screen and is  7.4 inches deep.  Contrast ratio is 2000:1 (DCI-compliant).

Canon’s 30-Inch 10-Bit IPS LCD Display has a 16:10 aspect ratio, with 4096 x 2560 resolution. The monitor is designed to be used on set, for grading, in DI suites, CGI, animation, and VFX facilities, and for DIT carts on stage and on location.

Pixel pitch is 157.5μm. The panel  is an IPS (in-plane switching) LCD with full array RGB LED scanning backlight technology that delivers excellent color accuracy, and crisp video without motion blur.  The IPS LCD panel has polarizing and filtering film layers to prevent changes in color and contrast.

The Canon DP-V3010 4K Reference Display is compatible with the five major color gamut standards (SMPTE-C, EBU, ITU-R BT.709, DCI, and AdobeRGB), DCI standards for 4K display (2000:1 contrast ratio), and ASC CDL (American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List) format. The display controller provided with the DP-V3010 4K Display includes a dedicated CDL button. Color settings made on location can be stored on a USB flash drive and imported/exported.

You can import 1D and 3D LUTs.

You can view live 4K from the camera on this monitor. It supports Canon Log gamma from the EOS C500 and EOS C300 Cinema cameras because Canon Log viewing LUTs are pre-installed.  The display will be able to support  ACESproxy output from Canon’s EOS C500 digital cinema camera.

To accommodate HD formats, the DP-V3010 Display offers upscaling to 4K resolution of DCI 4K (in up to 12 bit 4:4:4 color), 2K, 1080p, 1080i and 720p. Inputs include 3G-SDI, HD-SDI and DisplayPort connectors.

The Canon DP-V3010 4K Reference Display is scheduled to be available in the first quarter of 2014 for a suggested list price of $40,000.

For more information:





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Sanwa Group

The name Sanwa comes from “San” which means “3″ and “Wa” for peace and harmony. Company founder Tosai Yasumoto founded the company in 1955 and went to a fortune teller for advice on the name. Mr. Yasumoto had been a driver at a film studio. One day he decided to buy an ARRI camera and Angenieux zoom. He rented them out, and they never came back. In other words–they were always busy. He worked day and night, bought a big American car, added a roof rack to carry a dolly and track or to be used as a camera platform. He bought more equipment.

Sanwa Cine Equipment Rental Co. Ltd was founded in 1971. Video was added in 1974, and lighting in 1978. In 1980, Sanwa became the exclusive Panavision representative in Japan.

Sanwa introduced HMIs on the film mini-series “Shogun (1980),” (cinematography by Andrew Laszlo, ASC.) The trick at the time was shooting at 24 fps with Japan’s line frequency which was 50Hz and not always stable.

Mr. Yasumoto’s son Masa studied in England and worked at Samuelson’s. He got one of his first jobs as an interpreter on “Shogun (1980).” Today, Masa is the Managing Director of this impressive company.  They have buildings in Tokyo (separate camera and lighting departments), Osaka, and Seoul (Korea), with more than 100 employees. Cameras include Panavision, ARRI, Aaton, Photosonics, Mitchell. Lenses come from Panavision, ARRI, ZEISS, Cooke, Angenieux, Canon, Nikon, Century. Sanwa has a fleet of trucks.

ARRI Alexa is the camera used most often, followed by RED Epic. Sanwa has 25 Alexas, changing most to XT (internal RAW recording.)

Sanwa’s main markets are commercials and features. 40% of the productions are still shot on film. On the day I visited, a large 16mm job was prepping, and the service department was dusting off their long-dormant inventory of Arriflex 16SR3 cameras.

Masa sees DITs as an important link between Sanwa and the customers, since they are often involved planning workflow well in advance of the production. He hires trainees from film schools. “These are our future customers,” he said. “Human relationships are important.”

Masa is enthusiastic about anamorphic production. “Our customers are always asking for a new look, especially on commercials,” he said. “We see a big demand for anamorphic.”

To see a slideshow of a day in the life of Sanwa’s Tokyo operations, click on the first thumbnail below. The pictures illustrate a wonderfully run company that pays attention to the finest details, with a great selection of the best equipment.



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DaVinci Resolve 10 Ready


Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 10 is ready to download. It’s free for all existing DaVinci Resolve users.

DaVinci Resolve Lite edition for Mac OS X and Windows is also ready to download–for free.

The new Resolve Live feature lets you do color grading real-time and live. You can control primaries, secondaries, power windows, custom curves and more. Grades can be stored and  relinked later.

DaVinci Resolve 10 includes editing features and can import from other popular editing software. You can do online finishing from the original camera RAW files. New editing functions include editing up to 16 channels of audio per clip and unlimited video and audio tracks in the timeline. Audio can be synced or trimmed and dragged independently to the timeline. Other new editing features include ripple, roll, slide and slip clip trimming. The viewer allows split screen display to show in and out points of adjacent clips.

Final Cut Pro X editors can use DaVinci Resolve 10 as the way to online for cinema release and generate the DCP file directly from the camera RAW files.

Editing in DaVinci Resolve 10 also includes a title tool with static, lower third, scroll and crawl titles with multiple fonts, size, drop shadow and XY positioning.

Color correction has been upgraded in DaVinci Resolve 10. You can do unlimited power windows per corrector node. The new Gradient PowerWindow can quickly add a gradient across the image. Other new color correction features include copy and paste of tracking data, motion effects including spatial and temporal noise reduction and motion blur effects.

DaVinci Resolve 10 allows rendering from the camera RAW file directly to the Digital Cinema Package files. (Purchase license from EasyDCP to enable this.)

Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design said, “With over 50 new features in DaVinci Resolve 10, this is the most exciting update in the entire 30 year history of DaVinci.”


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NAC Image Technology

NAC Image Technology is a famous Tokyo company with a rich history in imaging. They are the ARRI Distributor in Japan, major camera rental house, high-tech manufacturer of high speed cameras and optical products, and authorized ZEISS service center for Asia.

The company was founded in 1958 in the Ginza area of Tokyo by the father of the current President, Mr. Seiji Nakajima. Today, a team of 200 people work at facilities in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. Mr. Nakijima explained that the company’s philosophy is defined by a Japanese character that means “Master Artisan and Artist.” For NAC, the product is the art.

NAC has always prided itself on listening to customers’ requests. Early on, they modified existing equipment, created anamorphic lenses, and customized cameras. They specialized in 8-perf VistaVision and high-speed film cameras. During the Tokyo Olympics, they supplied the cameras for director Kon Ichikawa. The list goes on.

I visited NAC’s Tokyo rental and repair facility. Their optical department is one of two authorized in the world authorized by ZEISS. AbelCine is the other. NAC owns a ZEISS K8 MTF tester and has the complete line of ZEISS lens tools and spare parts. Most Ultra Prime and Master Prime lenses require special gripping tools to unscrew the barrels, and NAC has an entire cabinet full of these (see photos below.)

Currently, about 30% of NAC camera rentals are shot on 35mm film. 50% of the digital feature productions are recorded as ARRIRAW and 50% ProRes. 30% of digital commercials are done in ARRIRAW.

After a tour of the Tokyo facility, we drove an hour south to NAC’s modern Yokohama R&D, design and manufacturing facility. This is where their Emmy-winning Hi-Motion II Ultra Slow Motion HD 3-chip highspeed camera is built, along with an extensive line of other high speed digital cameras for the automobile, aerospace, military, medical, sports, motion analysis, instrumentation and motion capture industries. In fact, NAC’s camera systems are used by almost every automobile manufacturer in the world for crash tests. NAC provides complete service and installation. One of their digital color cameras records up to 1.25 million fps. A black and white camera shoots 200 million fps using a special patented optical system.

There is a spirit of fine craftsmanship and attention to detail everywhere in this company. As we departed, I was impressed by the master gardener who was carefully pruning the beautifully shaped trees in front of NAC’s Technology Center.



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Sony α7R and α7 full-frame cameras

ILCE-7R_wSEL2470Z_right1-1024x778 ILCE-7R_front-1024x716

I think I accidentally stumbled onto a clue as to the direction we’re headed in motion picture cameras. It comes, once again, from the digital still world. Full-frame, format-agnostic sensors. Comfortable with B4, Super16, Super35, Anamorphic, Full frame and many other lenses and aspect ratios. The first hint of this was Leica’s new M camera, with CMOS sensor, live view, and accessory EVF.

Little was lost in translation here in Tokyo. At Sony Gallery in Ginza, I tested the new α7R and α7 full-frame mirror-less cameras. They were shown at PhotoPlus in New York a couple of weeks ago, but the implications didn’t hit me until I was handed a camera and WiFi tracker (lest I wander off too far) and encouraged to roam Sony’s demo area to take stills and video. Image quality was remarkable. The built-in OLED viewfinder is great.

Sony’s new α7 and α7R digital cameras are full-frame, 24 x 36mm, interchangeable lens cameras. They use the familiar Sony E mount — the same as the FS700 and NEX, which are APS-C size — but now the E mount covers full frame. (A full frame Sony E-mount consumer video camcorder was shown last year at Photokina.)

The α7R has a 36.4 megapixel CMOS sensor and no optical low pass filter.  The α7 has a 24.3  megapixel CMOS sensor with a faster autofocus and an OLPF.

Both cameras have a really sharp, bright 2.4 million pixel OLED electronic viewfinder. We’re getting close to the point where EVF is almost as good as optical mirror reflex viewing. The benefit of mirror-less electronic viewing is the chance for reduced flange focal depth. Without a mirror, you can position the rear element of the lens closer to the image plane. This means the lens can be lighter and smaller.

Both cameras record impressive full HD AVCHD 1920 x 1080 60p video.

New Sony and ZEISS α Lenses

There are 5 new full-frame E-mount lenses designed for the α7R and α7 cameras:  mid-range zoom lenses from Sony and Carl Zeiss,  Zeiss Sonnar T* primes and a G Lens zoom.

More information at the Sony Store.

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2013 Broadcast India Show

A recent Reader’s Digest test reveals how people across the world react after finding lost wallets. As part of the study, 192 wallets were placed in parks, shopping malls and sidewalks across 16 cities around the globe. In each of the cities, ‘lost’ wallets were left with a mobile number, a family photo, business cards and cash equivalent of $50.

Although not the safest place, and high on corruption indexes, Mumbai – (the city formerly known as Bombay) has been ranked second after Helsinki in this unique ‘honesty’ survey… and it’s true. I had left my brand new Sony RX 100 MII at Broadcast India’s CANON booth, and minutes later, a smiling Indian young man tapped my shoulder, with my camera in his hand. Incredible and fabulous India!

This year, Mumbai’s Goregaon Exhibition Centre hosted the Broadcast India Exhibition from October 9th to 11th. Along with the show, a two day conference took place with over 20 informative presentations and enlightening debates. The new RED Theatre had long queues of fans eager to watch the Dragon 6K presentations.

This is India’s leading exhibition dedicated to broadcast and the entertainment industry, showcasing the world’s leading companies with their latest technologies for digital cinema, broadcast, camera supports, lights, audio, IPTV and mobile television.

The 2013 edition had structural improvements such as a new air conditioned exhibitors’ lounge, better services and food courts; but still had the problem of not having air conditioning during set-up. Hard for foreign exhibitors to set-up their booths with 90% humidity, clouds of dust and sticky weather. The show had over 20,000 visitors, making it one of the most well-attended and successful Broadcast India shows to date.

International exhibitors like Angénieux, ARRI, Cooke Optics, Canon, Blackmagic Design, RED, Cartoni, cmotion, PAG, Tiffen/Steadicam, Ross Video, Panasonic, Sony, Avid, Harris, GoPro, ZEISS, Autodesk, Dedolight, Fujinon, Panther, Stereovision, Yamaha – just to name a few – presented their newest product lines and told us they were pleased with their level of business. Many signed up for 2014.

FDTimes’ Rome correspondent interviewed some of the exhibitors to get their feelings on the show and on India’s potential as a new market for their products.

Nicolas Meallier, ANGENIEUX’s sales & marketing manager Asia, commented: “Broadcast India 2013 was a very special occasion for Thales Angénieux since the exhibition was the first presentation of the new Optimo DP 25-250 after IBC. Based on the ‘mythic’ ratio of the HR lens, well known by a whole generation of Indian DPs, the new Optimo DP 25-250 was presented during two events. A special V.I.P preview was organized at the Westin Garden Mumbai on October 8th evening where Thales Angénieux’s close customers, rental houses, DPs, and partners had the exclusive opportunity to try this new product. Also on display were the Optimo 45-120, Optimo DP 16-42 and Optimo DP 30-80. Supported by RED India, Sony India, Cartoni and Prime Focus, the event was also an excellent occasion to share a friendly moment around a buffet and discuss the latest evolution of the Indian film industry.

“During the exhibition, the new Optimo DP 25-250 was displayed at the RED booth and was mounted on the new Epic Dragon 6K camera. It attracted a large crowd and generated enthusiastic reaction from operators and customers. The Optimo 45-120 was also displayed at the RED booth, with the new RED motion mount and the Optimo 16-42 and 30-80 were respectively presented in SONY India and Stereovision booths.

“Later, Angénieux participated – together with RED India – in testing the Epic/Dragon by Santosh Sivan in Chennai on October 16th. This event was a unique occasion for Angénieux — to have one of the most famous Indian cinematogaphers try the latest generation of zoom lenses developed by the company”

Another enthusiast was Geoff Chappell, Director of Sales at COOKE Optics: “What can one say in just a few words about this country and its film Industry, to some the envy of the world, with over a thousand feature films being shot every year and many of those finding their way to the four corners of the world as well as to the global television pay-per-view market.

“Budgets that until a few years ago were around US$ 500,000 – 2,000,000 are now climbing to $ 30 – 40,000,000. Gone are the days for the small one man family businesses scouring the world for second-hand film equipment, although some lenses are still sought after, while others, such as old anamorphic lenses like Kowa and Cineo, are now being sold to the western world.

“Every year the Indian film Industry attends Broadcast India, which is now in its 20th year and runs over 3 days. Together with a small group of non Indian manufacturers we were once again in attendance to meet, greet and show off our latest goodies and for the first time RED decided to not only take a large stand, but also to have a REDucation theatre that proved very popular with queues for every session.

“When it comes to choice of cameras in India, the ARRI Alexa leads, with the RED Epic not that far behind. Sony and Canon arrived later to this new digital market here. Film now accounts for less than 20% of productions shot in India.

“With the Indian currency down around 20% against the Dollar and the Euro, and the import taxes at 30%, one would have expected a slow show, but not at all. Most international exhibitors reported that they were pleased with their level of business and many have already signed up for next year.”

CARTONI’s General Manager Elisabetta Cartoni, a veteran with over 20 years of experience with the Indian market told FDTimes. “We missed last year’s Broadcast India but are happy to be back, as India is and has been a huge market for Cartoni for so many years, especially with television using big Studio heads and pedestals. Thanks to the Maxima Fluid Head, the Bollywood, Chennai, Kalkota and Bangalore film crews are starting to appreciate the price and technical competiveness of our Heads, Jibs and tripods along with their performance, after sales service and our 5 year warranty, which no one else offers.”

Another member of the the Chappell family, Stephen Chappell, Sales Manager at CMOTION, said: “2013 was the 9th consecutive year for cmotion exhibiting at Broadcast India and the 6th that I have attended. As always, it was an interesting, exciting and vibrant show, but this year it attracted many new exhibitors and more importantly to us, an increase in visitors with a strong knowledge of our company and request for our products.

Although cmotion have already established loyal business partnerships with rental facilities over the years, the launch of our new single motor compact system at this year’s show received an outstanding response and is expected to significantly increase our share within this incredible Indian market.

Johnny Kurtz, General Manager at DEDOTEC Schweiz Gmbh, another Broacast India veteran critized the set-up conditions: ” I have been participating on this exhibition since the beginning. I think the exhibition is very exciting and I have always done good business. I noticed that this year fewer Chinese companies participated at the show. Other years a lot of Chinese companies were here.


“This year the setting-up of the booth in the hall was worse than ever. It was funny to meet some colleagues working with masks, we were looking like doctors. Last year I caught a very bad pneumonia because of the dust and the miserable air in the hall during the setting up period. I think it is a pity that the organizers are not taking any steps to improve this situation.


“We presented the latest novelties in a Hall that was built by the Flintstone family! For some years we from Dedo Weigert Film have been at the group booth of the Bavarians. Unfortunately because of not enough interest from other German companies and not enough registrations, the Bavarian booth organizers decided not to participate at Broadcast India in 2014. Is this a sign that fewer exhibitors will be here next year?”

Nigel Gardiner, Sales Director at PAG (UK) was impressed by the organization “Having not attended Broadcast India for the past 3-4 years, I felt that the new location at The Bombay Exhibition Centre was infinitely better than the old World Trade Centre in Cuffe Parade. The facilities at the new location now make Broadcast India a professional Trade Show and brought it into line with many of the International venues for trade shows.

“I was impressed with the organisation, layout and the overall presentation of this year’s show. This must surely be due to the hard work of Mrs Kavita Meer and her associates. With regard to the exhibition itself it was noticeable to me that there were many new exhibitors present. To me, as an exhibitor, the most important thing must be the level and the quality of the visitors. I was not disappointed by the number of people that I was able to demonstrate my products. The overall experience of Broadcast India was a favourable one and I will most surely return again next year.”

Robin Thwaites, TIFFEN’s International Director of Sales for Steadicam was enthusiastic.  “Broadcast India was an excellent show for Tiffen in general, as always when I visit India I am amazed at the enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge of the visitors. Of course Steadicam was the most popular of our range of products and at least for Mumbai there was little interest in anything but big rigs capable of features productions. Fortunately we had a Steadicam Shadow with us topped with a Sony F-65 so this fitted the profile.

“This was my first visit back to Mumbai after a couple of years gap and I was very surprised at the speed of the transition from film to digital. Just three years ago there was only 35mm whereas now there is only digital. The currency and recent changes against the west certainly hamper purchasing as do the trials of importing equipment, however I am enthused by the attitude and will be carefully watching this area.”

Rene van der Reiden, International Sales Manager for CamRade & Alphatron Broadcast Electronics told FDTimes: “For us it was the first time we participated at the Broadcast India show. India is a new region for us and became more interesting due to the fact that Alphatron is manufacturing more and more products for the Film industry.

“We had no idea what to expect but the attendance to the show was better than we thought. Most attention in our booth was drawn by our Alphatron EVF, Electronic  Viewfinder. But also the camRade line of carrying bags and protection covers was popular.

“We definitely see a good potential in the market but at the same time we are not sure about how to reach out to this market. It will most likely be a mix of targeting big potential end users and use a number of strong dealers throughout India. Alphatron will participate again next year as we understand that like every country the market needs attention as it takes time to build up your brand.”

The 2014 edition will be held from the 15th to the 17th of October at the Bombay Exhibition Center (Goregaon). For any inquiries, go to: www.broadcastindiashow.com

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Yasuhiko Mikami joins Angénieux


L-R: Angénieux’s Dominique Rouchon, Yasuhiko Mikami, and Pierre Andurand

Yasuhiko Mikami has joined Angénieux as VP of Cinema/TV Business Development & Asian Operations. He will be based at the Thales Japan Tokyo office.

“Over the past 27 years, Yasu has been at the center of the digital imaging industry–driving the birth of HDTV, 24P, digital 35mm cameras, and 4K. His profound knowledge of the industry and technology trends will be a huge asset for Angénieux,”  said Pierre Andurand, President of Angénieux.

Mr. Mikami occupied a well-used speed-dial button on the FDTimes phone when he was Senior Manager of Content Creation at Sony’s Atsugi Technology Center. He has contributed technical articles and insight to FDTimes. His French connection comes from having worked at Sony France for about 10 years.



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Canon Project Imaginat10n


Canon U.S.A. hosted the premiere of their 2013 “Project Imaginat10n” Film Festival, at Lincoln Center yesterday.

The ten films were introduced by Canon’s Michelle Fernandez, Ron Howard, and the ten directors:

  • Jamie Foxx – “…And She Was My Eve”
  • Eva Longoria -  “Out of the Blue”
  • Georgina Chapman – “A Dream of Flying”
  • James Murphy – “Little Duck”
  • Biz Stone – “Evermore”
  • Arrius Sorbonne -  “Dominus”
  • Jared Nelson -  “Chucked”
  • Julian Higgins – “Here and Now”
  • Kalman Apple – “A Day in the Country”
  • Ronnie Allman – “Filter”

The project began with a contest for the public to submit still photos following 9 storytelling themes. 91 winning photos were selected. Each director chose nine photos, one from each theme, to guide their screenplays. A 10th photo was selected by Ron Howard: a difficult snail on a leaf.  Each film was restricted to 9 minutes or less.


Eva Longoria explained that she moved to Hollywood to become a stunt woman. Her fast-paced action-thriller “Out of the Blue” was her dream come true, with well-shot, tightly-edited action scenes, and nicely choreographed stunts.

All 10 films and making-of’s can be seen online.

Most of the shorts were done with Canon Cinema EOS Cameras. One film was shot in Super16 with Kodak 50D negative. Can you tell which one?




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Denz PL to Leica M Adapter


Seen at IBC and PhotoPlus Expo NYC, this new adapter from Peter Denz turns the Leica M into a superb Director’s Finder. The PL-to-M mount adapter provides extra support for heavy PL lenses. It attaches to the latest Leica M 240 in place of the camera’s existing base. (If you’re concerned about warranty, better check in advance.)

A sliding cover provides access to SD Card and camera battery. Since the new M has a CMOS sensor with live view, you can compose on the camera’s rear monitor or with its (highly recommended) accessory EVF. And yes, the Leica M shoots rather good HD video should you want to film decisive moments 24 times a second.


The Denz PL to Leica M Adapter comes with removable rosettes to attach handgrips and mounting options.


The adapter will be available from CW Sonderoptic in Wetzlar and distributors near you.


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Film in Oz

Penelope 35mm from Lemac

One of Lemac Film and Digital’s Aaton Penelope 35mm  cameras was used in 2-perf mode on this  Australian music video.

Strange Tenants, the band many consider to be the godfathers of Australian ska, recently released a new music video “Who Mines the Riches.” The band dedicated the song to miners around the world, as a salute to the difficult work and conditions they deal with day in and day out. All the members of Strange Tenants come from working class backgrounds, and celebrating the working class culture is a continuing theme in their music.

Read more: http://motion.kodak.com/motion/About/The_Storyboard/4294971901/index.htm#ixzz2iHR5CF7p

The film was produced and directed by Jeff Bird, with cinematography by Edward Goldner. It was shot on location at an abandoned gold mine in Smeaton, Victoria.

Edward Goldner used Kodak Vision3 200T 5213 film negative. “Film not only looks beautiful,” he said, “but it’s also fast to work with, which was important for a clip that had to be shot in one day.”

Neglab in Australia

Neglab, an Australian motion picture film laboratory for processing 35mm and 16mm color negative, will reopen later this month. Werner Winkelmann, original owner of the facility, has over 25 years of experience working in the lab industry and brings extensive expertise to the entire imaging chain. Neglab originally opened in July 1997, and suspended operations a few years ago. But with renewed interest and a resurging demand by filmmakers to originate on film, Winkelmann saw an opportunity to reopen.

A recognized expert in the laboratory business, Winkelmann has been involved in building ECN2, ECP2 and ECP3, and black-and-white processors throughout his career. Joining him at Neglab will be Herbert Stegbauer, director and owner of Stegbauer Pty., manufacturer and supplier of film processing equipment. Stegbauer started his career at Colorfilm and later co-founded Filmlab Engineering. Neglab will operate out of Stegbauer’s factory. Together, Winkelmann and Stegbauer have assembled a team of experts with over 80 years of experience in the film industry.

Neglab has installed the latest magnetic drive processor, with meticulous attention to cleanliness. Neglab’s processor has  backup and safety systems for trouble-free operation and processing of 35mm and 16mm color negatives.

“Customer service is a priority for us,” said Winkelmann. “We offer location pick up and handling anywhere within the Sydney central business district, and all rushes will be quickly delivered directly to the production’s telecine facility of choice. We can also arrange shipments at reasonable rates, when requested by the customer.”

For more information on Neglab, contact w.winkelmann.48 (at) gmail.com, or call +0409.928.117.


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